If you spend time on social media, you may have already seen warnings about a new condition known as “text neck.” This is a relatively new problem brought on by the explosion of smart phones and other electronics in daily life.
While text neck is a real problem that can cause permanent damage, it is also the subject of many misconceptions. Understanding both why text neck occurs and how it impacts your body can help you make a more informed decision on its treatment.
Understanding How Text Neck Develops
Text neck is the informal name for a type of posture that develops when people spend too much time with their heads hunched downward. Your spine is a flexible and adaptive part of your body. In order to give your head the support it needs, your spine may eventually begin to settle into this hunched position, as it has been trained to do. This leads to text neck, a disorder where the natural inward curve of your neck flattens out.
Once your neck is more comfortable resting in this position, it will affect your overall posture. You may notice your shoulders slumping forward and your head dropping naturally when you relax. This is self-reinforcing behavior, and it will get worse over time if ignored.
Exploring the Health Risks of Text Neck
As mentioned earlier, your spine is remarkably flexible. The poor posture that comes with text neck is not always associated with pain, despite the occasional sensational headlines. You may experience headaches and neck or upper back pain, but many people slouch through life with no significant complaints.
On the other hand, poor posture may still have an impact on your daily life. Upright posture is associated with greater confidence and lower fatigue, while a hunched back can lead to depressive symptoms. When you walk through life with your head down and your shoulders forward, you may not be living up to your full potential.
The question you must ask, then, is whether or not text neck is something you can or should ignore. If you do experience regular pain around your neck, seeking treatment is a necessity. If you want to present yourself confidently to the world, poor posture will only cause bad first impressions. In other cases, you may be worried about long-term deterioration as you hunch farther and farther forward.
Changing Your Texting and Reading Habits
Whatever your reasons for repairing your posture, the good news is that it can be fixed. The first step is to take a conscious look at your phone and computer habits. You don't need to give up your phone, but do start paying attention to the way you use it. Note how you sit when you pull your phone out, and how long you stare at the screen between breaks. Sometimes, all it takes is awareness to begin making changes.
If you aren't sure how to sit or stand with an electronic device, it may help to consult with your local chiropractor. A specialist will review your posture and show you where the problems are occurring. With an expert's guidance, you can go out into the world confident that your new habits are healthy ones.
Treating Text Neck Through Chiropractic Care
Besides changing your relationship with technology, there are also physical therapies available to bring your neck back to its natural curve. At Downtown Chiropractic & Orthotic Center, we focus on developing a healthy spine, as well as the nerves and muscles that rely on it.
If you are tired of slouching, getting headaches and feeling depressed, then addressing a case of text neck may be all it takes to get you feeling better.